Luke Rockhold reinjured his leg in training late last week and is now definitely not fighting Alexander Gustafsson this summer. I’m told he’s hoping to return in October, at the earliest. Here’s a video he provided to me of his shin getting stitched up. (Warning: GRAPHIC) pic.twitter.com/CDQseH7nUN
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) May 22, 2018
The fight was never official, but after being confirmed as in the works by UFC president, Dana White, we were all expecting to see former UFC middleweight champion, Luke Rockhold make his debut at 205 pounds opposite perennial top contender, Alexander Gustafsson for an interim title. That potential fight will now have to wait.
Rockhold last competed at UFC 221 in February when he took on Yoel Romero in an attempt to earn a 185-pound interim title after the champion, Robert Whittaker was unable to make it to fight night after acquiring a bad staph infection.
Romero would miss weight and go on to defeat Rockhold by second-round knockout. Due to the fact that the Olympic silver medalist in wrestling, Romero missed weight, he was, therefore, ineligible to earn the interim crown.
For the two-time light heavyweight title challenger, Gustafsson, he just recently was rewarded with a new UFC contract that he is very happy with and hints that only a title fight will be next for him.
The Swede, Gustafsson last fought in May of last year when he shined in arguably the finest performance of his career when he defeated Glover Teixeira with a fifth-round knockout.
Gustafsson has been vocal about wanting a rematch with either Jon Jones or current light heavyweight king, Daniel Cormier. However, Jones is currently waiting to be dealt his USADA suspension while Cormier is attempting to dethrone the heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic at UFC 226. As it stands right now, Gustafsson’s next best option appears to be Rockhold as the shallow 205-pound division isn’t offering up many viable contenders these days.
Cormier and Gustafsson first fought in 2015 at UFC 192 in a very exciting and closely contested battle that saw Cormier eeking out the split decision victory. This was Gustafsson last loss.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/22/2018.